Rails Tips and Best Practices
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Rails Tips and Best Practices



Rails is a great Ruby-based framework for producing web sites quickly and effectively. Here are a bunch of tips and best practices aimed at the Ruby newbie.

Rails is a great Ruby-based framework for producing web sites quickly and effectively. Here are a bunch of tips and best practices aimed at the Ruby newbie.



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Rails Tips and Best Practices Rails Tips and Best Practices Presentation Transcript

  • Rails Tips and Best Practices By David Keener http://www.keenertech.com Version 1.1 - April 28, 2012
  • IntroductionRuby on Rails is an exciting technology…a well-crafted framework with innovative philosophiesbaked in to facilitate Agile Web Development • But even so, there are pitfalls… • A few simple tips can help you avoid • the most common pitfalls
  • The Log File is Your FriendYou can’t optimize if you don’t know what yourcode is doing -- leverage the log file…. • Beginning Rails developers write inefficient code - Log File: /log/development.log • Shows all web page parameters - Posted Fields - URL Parameters • Shows all executed SQL
  • A Sample Log FileProcessing LoginController#index (for at 2009-08-27 03:33:44) [POST]Parameters: {"x"=>"25", "y"=>"10”, "authenticity_token"=>"bVOEM1qk1F4AH0=", "login_name"=>"dkeener@keenertech.com", "password"=>”sample"}[4;36;1mUser Columns (2.5ms)[0m [0;1mSHOW FIELDS FROM `users`[0m [4;35;1mUser Load (40.8ms)[0m [0mSELECT * FROM `users` WHERE (`users`.`password` = ’gHyfrds76jD AND `users`.`email` = dkeener@keenertech.com) LIMIT 1[0m[4;36;1mProfile Columns (2.1ms)[0m [0;1mSHOW FIELDS FROM `profiles`[0m[4;35;1mProfile Load (1.2ms)[0m [0mSELECT * FROM `profiles` WHERE (`profiles`.`user_id` = 3) LIMIT 1[0m[4;36;1mUser Update (0.3ms)[0m [0;1mUPDATE `users` SET `login_count` = 4, `updated_at` = 2009-08-27 07:33:45 WHERE `id` = 3[0mRedirected to in 624ms (DB: 48) | 302 Found []
  • My Program Blew Up on a Query“I was doing a find(45) and my code blew up!” • find(#) raises a RecordNotFound exception if it doesn’t find a matching row • But find_by_id(#) returns nil if not found • And the first, all and last methods return nil if they fail It’s easy to forget about this…
  • Column DefinitionsRails makes building your database easy…rails generate model User first_name:string last_name:string login_name:string password:string • Defaults to NULL-able columns - If it’s required, it should be NOT NULL • Strings => varchar(255) - Why worry about storage? Just use the default size - Let model validations handle size constraints (if any)
  • A Typical Migration (Excerpt)def self.up create_table :users do |t| t.string :first_name, :null => false t.string :last_name, :null => false t.string :login_name, :null => false t.string :email, :null => false t.string :password t.integer :login_count, :null => false, :default => 0 t.boolean :is_active, :null => false, :default => true t.timestamps endend
  • Foreign Key ConstraintsDo you use foreign key constraints or not? • Rails discourages foreign keys • Rails promotes enforcement of data integrity via the model (with validations) • Rails defines model relationships (with associations) Do you need foreign keys? My answer: It depends….
  • Think of your database as a source of water. If your app is a…
  • …Walled Fortress, with a well in the central courtyard that can only be accessed through controlled means – then you don’t need foreign keys
  • …Wildlife Preserve, with a pond that serves as a watering hole for all sorts of animals – then you need foreign keys
  • Foreign Key Helper Codemodule MigrationHelpers def fk(from_table, from_column, to_table) execute “alter table #{from_table} add constraint #{constraint(from_table, from_column)} foreign key (#{from_column}) references #{to_table}(id)” end def drop_fk(from_table, from_column) execute “alter table #{from_table} drop foreign key #{constraint(from_table, from_column)}” end def constraint(table, column) "fk_#{table}_#{column}" endend
  • Conditional Logic in MigrationsMigrations are Ruby. You can do anything in Ruby... • Find out what database is in use: Rails 2.3.x adapter = User.connection.instance_variable_get("@config")[:adapter] Rails 3.x adapter = connection.adapter_name.downcase.to_sym • Find out what environment is in use: if RAILS_ENV == ‘production’ … # Rails 2.3.x if Rails.env == :production … # Rails 3.x Especially useful if environments are different, e.g. – your laptop dev environment uses MySQL, but production uses Oracle
  • Fixture RecommendationsFixtures are nice, but problematic. • Can use fixtures for “lookup” data – e.g. states, countries, etc. • Reference in both migrations and tests • Also consider seeds for data • For dynamic test data, use tools like FactoryGirl or Machinist
  • Loading a Fixture in a Migrationrequire active_record/fixtures’class CreateCountries < ActiveRecord::Migration def self.up create_table :countries do |t| end Fixtures.create_fixtures(test/fixtures, File.basename("countries.yml", .*)) end def self.down drop_table :countries endend
  • Delegation• Old-style convenience method to pull data from other models # In the User model… Does user have a profile? def birthday Is caller aware of DB call? self.profile.birthday end• New-style using delegation # In the User model… delegate :birthday, :to => :profile
  • Limit what you bring back with find - Use the will_paginate gem - Or use limits: User.limit(5) # Rails 3.x User.all(:limit => 5) # Rails 2.3.
  • Don’t create methods withthe same name as associations –BAD IDEA
  • Conclusion• Harness the power of Rails - But understand what it’s doing for you• Minimize database calls, but don’t go crazy - Try eager loading in your find statements• The console is your friend…use it…• Consider data integrity in your apps - Or somebody will pay the price later• Test, test, test - Try RSpec, Factory Girl and SimpleCov, etc.